The BBC has announced plans to remake Alan Bennett’s award-winning Talking Heads monologues, with filming set to start today (Tuesday 28th April).
A host of famous faces from TV and film will be taking part, including Martin Freeman, Killing Eve star Jodie Comer and Imelda Staunton.
Other stars to be involved include Monica Dolan, Tamsin Greig, Sarah Lancashire, Lesley Manville, Lucian Msamati, Maxine Peake, Rochenda Sandall, Kristin Scott Thomas and Harriet Walter.
In addition to remakes of the original monologues, which were broadcast in 1988 and 1998 and starred the likes of Maggie Smith and Julie Walters, there will also be two new monologues recently written by Bennett.
In keeping with the current lockdown situation, the monologues will be filmed following government guidelines, and will be broadcast on BBC One in the coming months.
Alan Bennett said, “In such difficult circumstances, that the BBC should choose to remount both series of Talking Heads, and produce two entirely new ones, is a comfort and a huge compliment.
“I hope a new generation of actors will get and give as much pleasure as we did twenty and thirty years ago.”
Meanwhile, Nicholas Hytner, a long-term collaborator with Bennet and lead director and producer, added, “Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads are among the masterworks of one of the very greatest writers in TV, film and theatre history.
“It has been a profound and fascinating experience to work out a way of making them again, this time with a company of phenomenal actors who are the equal of those who first made them; with a group of leading theatre directors, colleagues and friends of long standing; and with a team behind the camera that represents the best of the British TV and film industries.
“It is a wonderful bonus that two of the 2020 Talking Heads are totally new, written only a short time before the current crisis began. And everyone involved has been working in an unprecedented way, rigorously observing social distancing, entirely rethinking ways of filmmaking that until a few weeks ago seemed routine.”
In the time since The Talking Heads monologues were first broadcast they have been included on the A-level and GCSE English Literature syllabus, while they picked up several awards including two BAFTAs.
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